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9 Things You Need to Know Before Throwing a Kids’ Party at a NYC Park

06.17.2019

Wondering “Do I need a permit for having a kids’ party at one of the NYC parks”? Partify has got you covered. We’ve gathered nine common questions that parents usually ask before throwing parties at NYC parks. Read more to find out how to apply for a Special Event Permit and other things you might need to know beforehand.

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1. What is the Special Event Permit for and when is a park party permit is needed? The permit is needed when reserving a specific area or hosting an event for 20+ people at NYC parks.

2. How much does the Special Event Permit cost? $25 for the application, cannot be waived or refunded whatsoever.

3. When should I apply? It takes 21-30 days to process the application, so it is best to apply at least one month before your event.

4. Can I reserve an area for holiday weekends? You can host events on the day before or after the holiday, but on the holiday itself, the park will be open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

5. Can I have a cookout/barbecue in the parks? Yes, but only in the designated areas. Click here to find out the specific places.                                                                                                                            

  • You cannot use propane or have a camp fire, and you have to barbecue at least 10 ft away from any structures. As for Central Park, you can only barbecue on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

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6. Can I reserve a playground exclusively for my kids? No, but if you arrive early enough, you can usually get the playground to yourselves. Places like Hippo Playground on the Upper West Side allow you to rent the parkhouse for kids. If you feel like having a cookout, reserving a grill on Governors Island might be a choice. J.J. Byrne Playground on Fifth Avenue also has historic old stone houses that are available for rent.

7. Can I throw a birthday party on a ball-field? No, but if you wish to use a ball-field while having the party somewhere else, just write it in the notes section of your Special Event Permit application. They will charge you athletic field permit fees.

If you’re only using the field or court, you’ll need to apply for an athletic field permit. Otherwise, a Special Events Permit will be enough.  

Other permits you might need:

For amplified sound, you need to apply for this permit. You need to file this application in the precinct where the device will be used, and this costs you $45 per day if you get approved. Apply at least five days before the event.

This permit will not be issued if you use the device within 500 feet of a school, church, courthouse or hospital.

8. How many tables are we allowed to have? For parks in Manhattan: two tables (need approval from the borough). For parks outside of Manhattan: bring your own tables & chairs

9. Can I have inflatables/mechanical rides at my kids’ party? If the parks can accommodate these features, then yes. But you also need a Department of Consumer Affairs License. Fees and contract will be required by Citywide Special Events Office.

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Other things to keep in mind:

If two or more applicants apply for the same locations on the same date (e.g. 2/14/2019), the one who got the permit from the previous year (2018) will get the permit again. If many or none of the applicants have permits from the previous year, the first one applies will get the permit. Thus, make sure the location you pick can accommodate your event and apply as soon as you can!

Register an account for the application here. The application itself is pretty straightforward and the process is easy. You just need to provide your information, the event information, the park where you want to host the event, answer a list of questions about other aspects of your event (amplified sound/selling merchandise), and pay the fee.

Go to one of the offices listed below if you wish to apply in person.

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Last but not least, remember that smoking and vehicles are not allowed, and permits are not transferable. Also, clean up after yourself! To reduce the environmental impact of your event, read the green event guidelines here.

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